An away team, led by Riker, beams down to a planet, and things quickly start getting weird for Riker. It would be a shame to write a review riddled with details, as you would then read it, and that would take away from what makes this episode so great-the drama-the guessing-the suspense. The funny thing is you quickly become comfortable with Riker's new surroundings. Riker also seems to accept them as well. The events of the story do lead up to a conclusion that is extremely surprising, but satisfying. I believe that this was one of the best TNG episodes ever written.
This is one of the episodes that makes this incarnation of Star Trek the best one ever. Good writing and clever plotting lead to an episode that has us guessing to the end and shows us the depths of Riker's soul. Riker shows us his desire for family, his detective work, humor, and cool under pressure that make for a great candidate for captaincy. Plus it gives us trekkers a glimpse into a possible future for characters on the show as well. Perhaps the weirdest thing for me was seeing Data with a red shirt-- that was perhaps the most out of character element in the show.
The “Enterprise” is probed by planet that is supposed to be uninhabited. The source of the sensor probe is Alpha Onias III. Picard sends a away team down to the surface of Alpha Onias III. A strange cloud begins to surround the away team.
The “Enterprise” is probed by planet that is supposed to be uninhabited. The source of the sensor probe is Alpha Onias III. Picard sends a away team down to the surface of Alpha Onias III. A strange cloud begins to surround the away team. The away team decides it is best to beam back aboard the ship. Next thing that happens Riker is waking up in sick bay and is referred to as Captain. Riker can’t remember how he became Captain of the “Enterprise”. The Federation in this time frame is friends with the Romlulans. Riker thinks it’s a hoax.
I really like the episodes that answer that "What if?" questions. This one, 'Parallels', 'Yesterday's Enterprise', and 'All Good Things...' are four great episodes in the series. This episode answers the question, "What if Riker was in command and had a family?" and they answer it pretty well. It's not perfect, but definitely fantastic.
One of my favorite moments, if not my favorite, is when Riker loses it and starts berating the bridge crew, which reveals what's really going on.
They also brought out the alternate universe com badges, which are my personal favorite. The rank insignia behind the starfleet logo was a great idea and I wish Paramount had introduced that in a later series.
The basics of this plot have been used many times before – an individual wakes up from a coma to discover that what he considered to be "reality" has changed in some fundamental, unsettling and "wrong" way. Done well, it's always a winning theme. In this case, Commander Riker wakes up 17 years in the future to discover that he is now Captain – and in charge of completing peace negotiations with the Federation's former foes, the Romulans.
The show had done a nice job of setting up the Romulans as the key villains on TNG during the 3rd season (they were more interesting than the Borg, in my opinion), which provides the perfect launching pad for a story like this. Given the way the episode is set up, it's pretty clear to most viewers from the outset that Riker is caught in some sort of cunning, devious Romulan plot. Riker, despite initial suspicions, begins to acclimatize himself to the new reality – just before himself catching onto the Romulans' machinations.
But that's not the final wrinkle in this tale, which I won't spoil. Let's just say that while the twist at the end isn't bad, and that some sort of twist was absolutely necessary, I can't help thinking that the writers could have come up with something even better. Nevertheless, one of the better episodes from the 4th season.
.... Few Season 4 episodes of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" are not worth a look and "Future Imperfect" is very enjoyable although not one of the greatest episodes of the season. In some ways, "Future Imperfect" is a preview to the far superior Riker-centered psychologically- angled plot "Frame of Mind" in Season 6: as (without giving anything away) Riker's world is turned upside down in a similar way. But there are a number of thrilling twists and turns that make "Future Imperfect" a very fun episode - but it is more interesting during the first viewing and does not hold up very well during subsequent viewings.
The premise of this episode alone makes this one a must see, and the writers use this unique idea to let their hair down and have a bit of fun even including a twist. (The writers also introduce elements that really would be explored in the future of Star Trek: a Ferengi ensign, a female Klingon, and peace talks with the Romulans.) And while the episode is fun to watch in its own right, it's especially interesting watch "Future Imperfect" after seeing TNG age naturally through its remaining seasons and motion pictures allowing us to compare a future which could be with a future that is.
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